E-Bike Friendly Trails in our Member Service Territories
Electric bikes are quickly becoming the fun, cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to inner-city commuting and bike trails. Here's some important information to know before venturing out on your e-bike.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) work a lot like traditional bikes in the sense that you have to pedal to move forward. Unlike traditional bikes, they’re also powered by an electric motor and are not permitted on every bike trail. This is because in some places e-bikes are determined to be motorized vehicles and some multi-use trails are designated for non-motorized use.
Even still, rules are beginning to favor the use of e-bikes and are defining them in a category of their own. Regulations vary from state to state and even bike to bike. It’s important to know the rules and where you can ride.
Tri-State’s 42 cooperative and public power district members span across Wyoming into Nebraska, throughout Colorado and across New Mexico. If you live within or are visiting one of our member’s beautiful service territories, check out these trails where e-bikes are permitted.
In Colorado, e-bikes are regulated like bicycles and are not subject to registration, licensing or insurance requirements. E-bikes are allowed in all 42 Colorado state parks where bicycles are permitted. On federal lands they’re considered a motorized vehicle that can only access motorized trails.
Colorado e-bike trails include:
- Hartman Rocks Big Loop | Gunnison | 30.3 miles
- La Plata Canyon Road | Hesperus | 18.5 miles
- Imogene Pass | Ouray | 11.6 miles
- Alpine Loop | Silverton | 65 miles
E-bikes are considered electric-assisted bicycles' in Nebraska. As long as the e-bike motor is under 750w with a maximum speed of 20mph, and it has fully operable pedals, the same rules apply to both e-bikes and bicycles. Like in Colorado, they’re also not subject to registration, licensing or insurance requirements. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission does not currently have an e-bike policy. Most public lands in Nebraska are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service where e-bikes are considered motorized vehicles and are only permitted to motorized trails.
Nebraska e-bike trails include:
*Note: Due to Nebraska e-bikes rules only pedal-assisted e-bikes are permitted
- Monument Valley Parkway | Gering | 12.8 miles
- White River Trail | Crawford | 4.4 miles
- Cowboy Trail | Valentine | 192 miles
In the Land of Enchantment, e-bikes are defined as mopeds and do not have the same rules as bicycles. They are subject to licensing and insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles. In both New Mexico state parks and on federal lands, e-bikes are only authorized for use on motorized trails.
New Mexico e-bike trails include:
- North Cedro Singletrack | Albuquerque | 18 miles
- Glorieta Canyon | Glorietta | 10.8 miles
- Haystack Mountain Area Loop | Roswell | 1.7 miles
- Otero Canyon to Blue Ribbon Trail | Tijeras | 5.5 miles
Like Colorado and Nebraska, e-bikes in Wyoming follow the same rules as bicycles and are not subject to registration, licensing or insurance requirements. E-bikes are considered motorized vehicles on federal lands and should only use trails designated as so.
Wyoming e-bike trails include:
- Cirrus Sky Trail | Laramie | 3.2 miles
- Limestone Mountain Loop | Fremont County | 10.2 miles
- Castle Gardens | Lysite | 38.4 miles
E-Bike Class Categories
There are three class categories for e-bikes. A class one e-bike is considered a low-speed, pedal-assisted bicycle. You must use the pedals to power the bike’s electric motor and you will only reach speeds up to 20 mph. Class one bikes are widely accepted on most mountain bike trails.
Class two e-bikes also top out at 20 mph but instead of having to pedal to activate the electric motor, there is a throttle that can be held down to take off without pedaling. Class two e-bikes are also widely accepted on most trails where a traditional bike is allowed.
Class three e-bikes are restricted from some mountain bike trails because they can reach speeds up to 28 mph. Some pedaling is required as class threes are pedal-assist only.
Always check rules and regulations before planning an e-bike trip. Your local bike dealer is a great resource or call your parks and recreation department where you live (or wherever you’re traveling) to avoid possible fines.
Have an e-bike trail to add? Email DLfirstname.lastname@example.org to contribute to the list.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit www.tristate.coop